The Tropical Andes span the northwest edge of South America. This hot spot twists through Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. Covering 1,542,644 square kilometers, the Tropical Andes is one of the richest and most diverse regions on Earth. And only one quarter of the vegetation remains! By following along the path of the Andes Mountains, there is a great variety of terrain ranging from peaks, slopes, canyons and isolated valleys. The Tropical Andes is home to the deepest canyon in the world, the Cañón del Colca in Peru is 3,223 meters deep, altitudes can drop to 500 meters in the valleys, forests can rise higher than 4,800 meters, and grasslands reach the snow line. This has allowed fantastic distinct evolution of the wildlife. The creature we want to inform you about resides in elevations of 2,700 meters. We are going to take you into Peru, where the Yellow Tailed Woolly Monkey lives.
The Diet of the yellow- tailed woolly monkey is primarily consists of fruit but leaves, bugs and insects are also eaten. This monkey, which is considered one of the world’s rarest mammals, is both arboreal and diurnal, which means they travel via trees and ground. They have a multi- male group social system and a polygamous mating system, which means there are multiple mates for each monkey. These animals have a variety of vocal calls including a loud “puppy- like” bark, which it uses as a territorial or alarm call.
Very little is known about the ecology and behavior of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey. Results from studies in the early 1980s indicated that the sizes of its multi-male & female groups ranged from about 5 to 18 individuals. They have been seen to eat a variety of fruits, flowers, leaves, lichens, leaf bases of bromeliads, epiphyte roots and bulbs. In a recent field survey, an unusually large group of about 17- 20 monkeys was encountered in areas relatively close to agricultural plots, which may indicate that due to recent and on-going loss of habitat they are finding less suitable habitat areas. The species is highly sensitive to changes in habitat and has a hard time adapting to living in younger forests, which makes them even more vulnerable environmental impacts.
Until the 1950’s, inaccessibility to this highly wild habitat protected the yellow-tailed woolly monkey. From that year on, numerous factors played a part in making the habitat more accessible. This included the construction of new roads; habitat loss and fragmentation from agriculture, logging and cattle ranching; and subsistence hunting. The monkeys alone already existed in low quantities. Their existence alone is characterized by slow maturation, low reproductive rate, and a restricted geographic distribution.
The primary threat to the yellow-tailed monkey is fragmentation. Much clear cutting occurs in the tropical Andes. As more humans increase their productivity, so does the deforestation. Deforestation occurs in order to increase the productivity of the various types of agriculture, mainly coca cultivation, coffee cultivation, timber, mining, road construction, and cattle husbandry. Soils are commonly poor, and quickly erode, requiring even more clearance. Such destruction is often illegal and sometimes occurs in protected areas.
The Andes in general faces these threats. The region is harmed by mining, timber extraction, oil exploration, and narcotics plantations, which are all expanding due to the continual growth of many large cities in the region. Conservation work started soon after the species re-discovery in the mid 1970’s. This pioneering work by the Peruvian NGO APECO led to the creation of three protected areas, Rio Abiseo National Park, and Alto Mayo Protected Forest